Springfield, Ohio — Springfield community members will have multiple opportunities to enjoy a broad spectrum of work produced by Wittenberg University Professor Emeritus of Art Jack Osbun in the coming weeks.
"Jack Osbun, A 40 Year Retrospective: In Search of Significant Form" opens with a members preview reception with the artist from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 22, at the Springfield Museum of Art. The reception includes a gallery talk at 6 p.m., and Osbun will also lead a gallery walk at 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 10.
"Jack Osbun, Work of The Last Year: The Search Continues" opens at the Ann Miller Gallery in Koch Hall, Wittenberg University, on Monday, Aug. 24. An artist's lecture is scheduled for 4 p.m. Monday, Sept. 14.
"Ever since the Springfield Museum of Art opened its doors, I have been salivating at the idea of being invited to show my work in its galleries," Osbun said. He has realized his desire and will have approximately 75 pieces of his latest work on exhibit.
Since his retirement from academia nearly 10 years ago, Osbun and his wife have lived in Mexico, where his art has taken on new shapes and meanings. Although his work has roots in reality, to Osbun the act of painting is a constant search for form with nearly spiritual implications.
"I am always trying to find something just beyond the surface appearances," he said.
The work at the museum spans 40 years and represents many differing directions. Of the more recent works, those showing the strongest Mexican influence are a series of landscapes that represent the forms surrounding his Mexican studio and views encountered on the one-quarter mile walk from the studio to the house in which they live.
"I return to the house every night just at twilight, and magical things happen on the plateau at 6,000 feet at twilight," Osbun said.
Sometimes his work picks up Mexican cultural traditions, such as the form of a heavily draped Virgin Mary, which the Mexicans borrowed from Spanish art, or the calaveri, the skeletons, which date from an age long before the arrival of the Spanish and are used in the Mexican celebration of the Day of the Dead.
Mermaids are another image often used in Mexican folk art that Osbun introduced into his work.
The work presented in the Ann Miller Gallery has all been produced in the last year. It represents a re-visitation of a theme that Osbun first used in the early 1970s. At that time, he produced two paintings using the form of the then popular "tulip chairs." These new paintings all represent basic form of chairs, but they are very linear and use much less complex color.
Osbun continues his interest in former students and expressed gratitude at the advantage teaching gave him.
"The liberal arts structure of Wittenberg gave me an opportunity to pursue many different ideas and continue to expand my varied interests," Osbun said.
Wittenberg's Ann Miller Gallery is free and open to the public from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday.
Written by: Phyllis Eberts